Scope of Public Administration

The Scope of Public Administration

As stressed at the outset, public administration is a segment of the wider field of administration.  But, there are different opinion about the scope of public administration whether it is the managerial part of the governmental work or the entire complex of activities of only executive branch of government or of all branches, i.e., legislative, executive and judicial.  There are two views regarding the scope of the study of public administration. “Integral” view and “Managerial” view.

 According to Integral View:

Public administration is a sum-total of all the activities undertaken in pursuit of and in fulfillment of public policy.  These activities include not only managerial and technical but also manual and clerical.  Thus, the activities of all persons working in an organization from top to bottom constitute administration.  According to L.D. White public administration “consists of all those operations having for their purpose the fulfillment or enforcement of public policy”.

According to Managerial View:

The work of only those persons who are engaged in the performance of managerial functions in an organization constitutes administration.  It is these persons who should have the responsibility of keeping the enterprise on even keels and to run it most efficiently.  L. Qualick subscribes to the Managerial view.  He defines the managerial techniques by the word “POSDCORB” each letter of which stands for different management technique i.e., planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating reporting and budgeting.

According to Pfiffiner the scope of Public Administration can be divided under two broad heads: Principles of Public Administration and Sphere of Public Administration.    In the first category public administration studies organization which means “the structuring of individuals and functions into productive relationship”, management of personnel which is “concerned with the direction of these individuals and functions to achieve ends previously determined.

Thus, “public administration, in sum, includes the totality of government activity, encompassing exercise of endless variety and the techniques of organization and management whereby, order and social purpose are given to the effort of vast numbers”.  A more comprehensive account of the scope of public administration has been given by Walker.

He has divided it into two parts:

(a) Administrative theory and

(b) Applied Administration.

Administrative theory includes, the study of structure, organization, functions, and methods of all types of public authority engaged in carrying out the administration at all levels, i.e., national, regional, local etc.  Applied Administrative is difficult to give a comprehensive statement as to what “applied administration” should exactly include because of the new and fast growing field of public administration. Walker has made an attempt to classify the main forms of applied administration on the basis of ten principal functions which he calls as political, legislative, financial, defensive, educational, social, economic, foreign, imperial and local.  Although there is much of overlapping in the classification of Walker, it is a good attempt at an exhaustive definition of applied administration.

In a more summarized form, the applied administration includes the study of administration in the various countries of the world, of various departments of services in the progressive states, of organization of various levels, i.e., governmental, local, national and international of the historical development of administrative methods and techniques and of the problems connected with international organizations.

More particularly, public administration is only a means to the attainment of the objects of the state itself- “the maintenance of peace and order, the progressive achievement of justice, the instruction of the young, protection against disease and insecurity, the adjustment and compromise of conflicting groups and interests in short, the attainment of good life of people.